Mom Life and Narcolepsy: A New Baby

So you survived pregnancy with narcolepsy. Now you have a little human who, if you are nursing, is literally sucking energy out of you. Sleep is even more unpredictable, and you have to learn new things every day. Welcome to mom life!

In the midst of the craziness of having a baby and managing narcolepsy, there is one possible glimmer of hope. When moms who don’t have narcolepsy struggle to "sleep when the baby sleeps," moms with narcolepsy can often fall asleep anytime, anywhere. It becomes our superpower.

Woman fast asleep sitting up with a baby on her chest.

Tips for managing your baby's first year

My first 3 kids were born before I had narcolepsy. My 4th was born after. After going through both scenarios, I wanted to offer some thoughts to ponder.

Here are some ways that might help as you take on the joys of your baby's first year with narcolepsy.

  • Stock your house with healthy food. Eating nutrient-dense food replenishes the nutrients you lost while pregnant and helps if you are breastfeeding. It can also help your brain function better.
  • Ask for help. Every new mom can benefit from help. If you have narcolepsy, you will need it even more.
  • Rest when the baby sleeps.
  • If people ask if they can help, say yes!
  • Give yourself grace. Make changes where you know you need to step up, but don’t beat yourself up all the time.
  • Stop cleaning everything. Cleaning is critical because it stops the spread of illness by eliminating germs. However, it is not a big deal if the baseboards are dirty. Give yourself permission to stop cleaning the inconsequential things.
  • Eat low carb and manage stress to try reducing some of your narcolepsy symptoms naturally.
  • Do the bare minimum. Clear your calendar as much as possible. An overwhelming schedule isn’t good for anyone.
  • Focus on what you are good at. Everybody thrives when they can be the person they were created to be. This can look so different for everyone.
  •  Get the older kids to help out. If you have older kids, they can be a great help. And often, they are eager to step up to the task. My girls, ages 6 and 8, helped change diapers, hold, and entertain their brother from the get-go.

Special considerations for cataplexy

Cataplexy attacks add another layer of complexity. Here are some extra tips to safeguard against dropping baby:

  • Get a baby carrier
  • Sit while holding baby
  • Reduce or eliminate sugar to reduce the amount and severity of cataplexy attacks

Finding enjoyment, even in exhaustion

Having a new baby is hard no matter what. In my opinion, it also makes everything about narcolepsy a bit harder. It’s impossible to separate what exhaustion is from sleepless nights from the baby being up or sleepless nights from narcolepsy.

It doesn’t really matter, though. What matters is finding ways to enjoy our little ones as much as possible.

Do any other moms with narcolepsy have tips for us? Please share in the comments below!

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